Cupid Is Online

By: Leo_72

I was at a bar, catching up with a few friends, when one of the single guys started a debate about online dating vs. old-school dating. In his opinion, it was a no-brainer. Why would I want to invest time and money in somebody before having any idea about who she was? Wouldn’t I want to avoid those who are madly in love with Ricardo Arjona’s lyrics? Why would I waste time on somebody who has a weird attitude about getting high? What if she was one of those Robert Pattinson freaks? Wouldn’t I want to jump two dates ahead by knowing beforehand what she claims to be looking for? Could I survive dating a vegan? On and on he went, and my romantic notion of letting chance play a role in finding a woman started to crash under his very reasonable considerations of time, money, variety and fear of failure.

And there I was later that night, staring at the OkCupid screen. “This will be easy,” I thought before I started answering an endless list of questions. My opinion on sarcasm? First thing people notice about me? Did I like playing drinking games? How many books did I own? Evolution or Creationism? I mean, it was all fine with me. I had decided to give this chance my best, but would it really reduce my chances of a horrible date? Or of falling for the wrong person? After a couple of hours, I decided take a break from the quiz and relax by means of some window-shopping through the profile pictures of potential mates.

It didn’t turn out to be a relaxing break. The amount of cats, people getting wasted, Halloween costumes, yoga mats, laughing-out-loud selfies, beach shots, bikes, handstands, whitened teeth, bars, umbrella-topped cocktails and funny faces was just as overwhelming as the lines I was still struggling to write in order to introduce myself to them.

David Byrne famously wrote in a song that he was just an advertisement for a version of himself. What he never said was that any of us could be our own advertising agency. Outgoing, funny, creative, active, open-minded, well traveled, outdoorsy, curious, positive, thoughtful, compassionate, music lover... Which version of myself was I supposed to advertise? This was rapidly turning into a more neurotic quest for my identity than any I had attempted during my adolescence. The need for another break from the words prompted me into picture time.

As a born-again bachelor, I was at the time sleeping on couches and looking for an apartment, which had made me very aware of how frustrating it is when reality doesn’t match the promise of a photo. Plus, I had long ago made peace with how I looked on web pictures: there was only so much you could do. But picking one photo to grab the attention of hot and smart girls? After some hesitation, I decided to go with a few of the pictures I had been using to promote my DJ work, and then stopped overthinking and filled out the profile as fast and honestly as I could.

Minutes later I was writing to every single girl that had caught my eye. “What’s up?” I typed, trying to sound confident. “I like you. Wanna have a drink?” I fell asleep at 5am after a couple hours of emailing girls, excited and turned on by the prospect of how much love I was about to give and receive.

But a couple of days went by and my inbox remained empty. It was a blow to my ego that I didn’t see coming. I was considering the option of paying a small fee to the website so my profile would be “featured,” when a text message made my phone buzz. It was from one of my single female friends asking me out for a drink.

I looked at the screen and didn’t do anything. Something made me hesitate. Two more texts came through before I had written a single word back. And then a third.

“C’mon, I have been where you are at now. Buy me a drink. Leo_72 could use some coaching.”

And that’s when things really got started.

Leo_72 is a DJ and lives in Brooklyn. He can be found in dating sites under a slightly different nickname.